“Crazy, Stupid, Love” is proof that occasionally Hollywood gets it really right. The movie is smart, funny, accessible, well-written, well-directed, well-cast and completely entertaining.
Result: $19.3 million, roundly beating box office projections.
Thank you, Warner Brothers.
What’s happening here? For one thing, this is a cast that spans different age categories, broadening its appeal, and is absolutely stacked with talent in every one of them.
At a PG-13 rating, families can go together.
But on the most fundamental level, the movie delivers. That’s what it’s really about.
First off – what a cast. Everyone works, from Julianne Moore to Steve Carell, whose embodiment of an every-husband improves with every outing. He is entirely credible from the moment he gazes into his wife’s eyes (Moore) and is stricken with the news that she wants a divorce, through to his transformation into a dating single.
Ryan Gosling grabs the screen as a swaggering 21st century rake. He oozes sexual confidence and is funny too. (Enduring moment when he smacks Carell across the face for wearing sneakers with his trousers and asking: “Are you Steve Jobs? Are you a billionaire that owns Apple?” And then tosses the sneaker over the railing.)
Beyond those principals, the movie is packed with gem-like supporting performances, from Marisa Tomei, who grabs the movie by the ass and shakes it hilariously, to the touching depictions of unrequited love from 13-year-old Robbie (Jonah Bobo) and 17-year-old babysitter Jessica (Analeigh Tipton).
Hottie-of-the-moment Emma Stone isn’t even that noticeable among these heartfelt kids.
Funny thing happened at the theater – I thought the movie would only appeal to older audiences, because of the leads. But my 11-year-old niece wanted to go to see a love story (and at PG-13 I could take her) and the audience at the Santa Monica theater had a range of couples old and young. An older woman on my right had come by herself.
This is the essence of counter-programming. Apparently none of us felt like watching Cowboys and Aliens, and we were way too old for Smurfs. We wanted to laugh, or maybe cry, and recognize something human on screen that we could connect with from our own lives.
These are the fast-disappearing, mid-budget movies that entertain, keep audiences who are not teenaged boys engaged and give us a reason to keep coming back to the theater.
Urgent message to Hollywood: don’t abandon these movies! There’s an audience here, and a business worth holding on to.
Personally speaking, I got my $8 worth and left a satisfied customer.